The School of Education celebrated its 2022 graduates during a joy-filled Commencement weekend May 20-21.
The school kicked off festivities with its first annual cording ceremony for doctoral students on Friday, May 20. 34 students received doctor of philosophy or doctor of education degrees in educational leadership or counselor education and supervision. Each student’s name and dissertation title was recognized, then they received their cords from the chair of their dissertation committee.
The student speaker at the ceremony was Derek Porter Ed.D. ‘22, a graduate of the Executive Ed.D. program with a concentration in PK-12 Administration and Supervision. He currently serves as a teacher, coach, facilitator of teaching and learning, and research fellow at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond. Porter shared a poetic reflection upon graduation, which was also published in the Wren’s Nest, the school’s digital publication for scholarship beyond the classroom.
The following morning, graduate students from across the university gathered in Kaplan Arena for the graduate student commencement ceremony.
During the ceremony, 68 students were recognized for earning Master of Arts in Education degrees in the areas of elementary education, secondary education, special education, ESL and bilingual education, and literacy leadership. 40 students were recognized with Master of Education degrees in educational policy, planning and leadership, including both K-12 administration and higher education administration. 97 students were recognized with Master of Education degrees in counseling or school psychology and 13 students were recognized with Educational Specialist degrees in school psychology. 34 students were recognized with Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy degrees in educational leadership or counselor education. 3 students earned undergraduate degrees in elementary and secondary education.
In all, 255 students were recognized for earning degrees in education.
Following the main ceremony, School of Education students gathered for a procession to the school building, led by alumni musicians of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums. They joined family and friends in the courtyard of the school building for a short ceremony honoring education graduates.
By tradition, the ceremony began with the ringing of the school bell by retiring faculty. This year, Judi Harris, Professor and Pavey Family Chair in Educational Technology, and Carol Tieso, Professor of Gifted Education, rang the bell to begin the ceremony. Harris is retiring this year after 20 years of service and Tieso after 17 years of service.
The school welcomed commencement speaker Jo Lynne DeMary ’68, Ed.D. ’82. DeMary was the first woman in Virginia to serve as superintendent of public instruction and was honored earlier this year as one of the school’s inaugural Trailblazers. She currently serves as the chair of the School of Education development board.
DeMary spoke with her trademark humor and humility about the trajectory of her own career, encouraging graduates to recognize their chosen field of education as the profession which makes all other professions possible.
To close the ceremony, Virginia McLaughlin ’71 rang the school bell, which is named after her in recognition for her extraordinary efforts supporting the planning and construction of the school building. McLaughlin retired in 2021 after 38 years of service to William & Mary, including 18 years as dean of the School of Education.
Over the course of the Commencement celebrations, a number of student awards were bestowed in recognition of extraordinary effort and accomplishment.
Thatcher Prize for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Study
Robert Clay Thompson Ph.D. ’22 was awarded the university-wide Thatcher Prize, which is given to one outstanding graduate student completing an advanced degree in Arts & Sciences, Education, Marine Science, Business Administration or Law. The award is given on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership, and service.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Thompson worked as a graduate assistant in the Troops to Teachers program and has served as a liaison and recruiter to veterans who may have an interest in education or counseling. Rob’s contributions to Student Veterans of William & Mary were instrumental in aligning veteran resources across the university. Nominators described Rob as committed to the well-being and success of others. He leads without seeking recognition and calls others forward with him to advance progress.
Thompson graduates with a Ph.D. in higher education administration, successfully defending his dissertation entitled “Student Veterans A Quantitative Examination of Provided Resources and their Effect on Success.”
Margaret, The Lady Thatcher, Award for Scholarship, Character and Service
Each year, this medallion award recognizes a graduate student who embodies the traits of scholarship, character and service within the School of Education and university community.
The 2022 winner of the Thatcher Award is Amanda Goldstein Ph.D. ’22. A doctoral student in higher education administration, Goldstein was instrumental in advancing the mission of the School of Education by assisting with preparations for the accreditation review by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). As an administrative intern, she reviewed all submitted documentation with fresh eyes, based on CAEP standards, and planned the logistics of on-site visits from the group. With her assistance, the School of Education not only achieved accreditation but has also been in a better position to shape the story we would like to tell.
Leslie Grant, the Dorman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor, noted in her nomination letter that her dissertation research represented a level of excellence rarely seen among students. Grant pointed to the positive impact Amanda’s research will have on the field and also highlighted the academic excellence she exhibited through her entire doctoral program.
School of Education Awards for Excellence
Each year, three awards — one to an undergraduate, one to a master’s student and one to a doctoral student — are given in recognition of academic and professional excellence, as well as outstanding citizenship.
The undergraduate winner is Emily Stumpo ’22, who graduates with a B.A.Ed. in elementary education and certificate in ESL and bilingual education. Her nominator noted the impressive, thorough manner in which she approaches assignments, her effective use of technology, her understanding of diversity and multiculturalism, and her success in creating student-centered communities of learners in the classroom.
The master’s winner is Felecia Hayes M.A.Ed. ’22, who graduates with a master’s degree in elementary education. Hayes was recognized based on her academic, professional and civic achievements, particularly her commitment to life-long learning and passion for inclusivity not only with the School of Education but across the community.
The doctoral winner is Aiesha Lee Ph.D. ’22, who graduates with a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision. Lee has held a number of leadership positions within the school, including as director of training in the Flanagan Counselor Education Clinic, advisory board member for a local school system and doctoral liaison for Chi Sigma Iota counseling honor society. She has published six peer-reviewed journal articles along with one book chapter, received five grants to fund her research and facilitated 22 presentations at local, state or national events.